Texas woman Susan Schorn here--I'm a black belt and self defense advocate living in Austin, and I write about women and fighting for McSweeney's Internet Tendency. Book here, Web site here, video of me beating up my husband behind a dumpster here. Many thanks to His Supreme Rudeness for letting me indulge my penchant for extended livestock analogies on his blog today. Solidarity, ya'll.
There's a reason the average Texas woman is meaner than a goddamn snake: She lives with Texas men.
Texas women live among men who believe they have a divine right to control other people. Men who are so sure of this privilege that they've never wasted a moment reflecting on the corresponding responsibilities it might entail, nor bothered to employ any sort of nuance as they go about exercising it.
The quintessentially awful Texas man is rarer than he used to be, praise Jesus, but he still owns the state government. Here in Texas, we women have our laws made for us by men like David Dewhurst, who blamed an "unruly mob" of females for derailing his first effort to ram through a draconian anti-abortion law, and then huffed on Twitter, "be assured that I'll strictly enforce rules to uphold decorum, ensuring our democratic process isn't interrupted." Men like Rick Perry, who lectured Wendy Davis on how she ought to have learned from her own life experiences, because clearly a Harvard lawyer needs remedial instruction from a man who barely scraped a C in his college course on Reproduction in Farm Animals. And men like Jonathan Strickland, who Tweeted his gratitude for the Second Amendment when faced with all the scary gals waving coat hangers. In Texas, women like me live with men who have never doubted their right to rule us, school us, or shoot us.
Frankly I'm a little surprised that Perry didn't earn a better grade in his study of the forced breeding of cattle, because he and his fellow Texas womb police show an innate understanding of the concept. A conservative male Texas legislator, contemplating the problem of female sexuality, basically sees himself as a bull--not a tough, range-savvy Longhorn, but a pampered, cosseted beef industry breeding machine, with all the female fecundity of his species as his lawful due. He feels entitled to respectful handling, ready access to his herd, and docile receptacles for his valuable seed, which it is his right and duty to propagate.
The fate of those adorable knock-kneed calves after they're born doesn't concern him; that a sizable percentage of "his" cows are lost to the rigors of calving each year is not his problem. All he's concerned with is leaving the imprint of his own turgid balls on as much of the future as he possibly can. And that requires an orderly breeding operation.
Which explains Dewhurst and his peers' ruttish outrage at being interrupted in the midst of their sweaty, red-faced lawmaking. Davis's filibuster thwarted them in mid-thrust, and provided a climax very different from what they were anticipating. And thus the bellowing commenced--and the arrests, and the nonsensical, yet oddly telling, confiscation of feminine hygiene products (did you know that in a commercial beef breeding operation, all the cows are kept on the same estrus cycle? They call that "quality control."). Watch the video of the DPS trooper handcuffing a 74-year-old women, and you'll be surprised that he doesn't throw his hands up in the air when he's finished, like a contestant at a calf-roping. Because when you live with these big ugly lumps of beef, you know that the last thing they can tolerate is chaos in the breeding barn. Animals that don't cooperate have to be roped and wrangled into submission. The cows cannot be allowed to decide whether or when they want to be serviced.
Rational people might call this approach to reproductive rights rape culture. I certainly do. Living with it--and with the people who perpetrate it, and normalize it, and make sanctimonious speeches about it--does not incline me to sweetness and light.
Some women, in Texas and elsewhere, are patient and docile, and amble willingly into the breeding chute. They moo about the sanctity of life, even when it's engendered by force. A few prize heifers actually help the bulls run their breeding operation, like Jodi Laubenberg, whose sponsorship of the recently-passed legislation recalls the moment in Animal Farm when the pigs stand up and start walking on their hind legs. (Laubenberg is the same gold-plated brainbox who claimed that “In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out.")
But most of us Texas women are not docile, and we've run out of patience. We're sick of being regarded as incubators, tired of being told we're less important than a non-viable fetus. So you can expect to hear a lot more whooping and hollering from Texas in the coming days, as we round up this bunch of worn-out old bulls, and send them to the packing plant.
And then, we will have one hell of a barbecue.